12/7/11

Christmas to Me

I love Christmas so much, I love everything that comes with it. I love the hustle and the bustle of the season. I love the festive food, looking at lights, receiving Christmas cards, sending Christmas cards, listening to the same songs eight millions times, shopping for presents for others, receiving gifts that others spent the time to pick out and even all the corny Christmas movies.

I love trying to figure out gifts for others and watching their reactions as they open - while I am hoping and praying that they truly like it (only time will tell).

But lately....or maybe it's just the fact that I've gotten older, I feel like the joy has been taken out of the season. So many people, in an effort to steer clear of materialism, end up making others feel guilty for their involvement and enjoyment in the holiday.

And then there is the crazy and ridiculous argument of Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.

As a Christ follower I don't understand all the fuss about saying Happy Holidays.

I say Merry Christmas and will always say Merry Christmas - but if someone says "Happy Holidays" to me what purpose will it be to chastise them for their choice of verbiage? Would that reflect Christ?

Do I want everyone to know the loving, forgiving, grace that comes through a relationship with Christ? Yes.

Do I think telling someone not to say happy holidays to me will help in this purpose? Heck no.

All year long as a Christ follower I should be focused on those in need, on Jesus (the reason for the season as we say), those who are hurting and those who are lonely. If I am truly living the Word out, that should be my focus throughout the year, but for some reason these particular situations are amplified during Christmas and I feel that sometimes we are made to feel guilty for buying into materialism during this season - yet the other eleven months of the year materialism is accepted.

I want to teach Eli the Christmas story, but I want it to be something that we focus on all year round - not just something that is pounded into his brain for 25 days.

But I also want to enjoy the holiday season when it is here. Make traditions, even if some of them seem "materialistic". I want to set up the nativity scene with him walking through the story step by step (I understand this might be a false dream I have in my head, as I am raising a boy and he will probably be shooting at me with an imaginary gun while I try and teach him the story), but I want us, as a family to take it ALL in.

And I want to teach him to love others throughout the year, not just during this season. I want us to give to others all year, be around those who are different than us, and reach out to those who are lonely.

This post is more for myself than others. So many times I have felt guilty about getting excited about a season that seems"materialistic" when in reality I should feel worry about being materialistic all year round - not just at Christmas.

So I'm going into the season excited about it all, traditions, food, movies, and sharing with others the Love that truly is the reason for the season (as corny as that saying is, it is true).

20 comments:

Chelsi said...

As usual, I really appreciate your sentiments. I agree with it all - especially the Happy Holidays part. I have such a hard time with the materialism 365 days of the year. Not only judging what I see others do, but myself also. It is a constant battle of the gimmies and justifying wants vs. needs and determining when it all has gone too far.

I LOVE this time of the year, but it will be a lot of work to teach my children the true meaning... Which is sad to me

Justine said...

I wrote something similar. I think its about finding balance. Its OK to use the material things to help celebrate but ultimately know the reason for it. Thanks for a great post.

Life and Times . . . said...

You hit the nail on the head. I wrote something along the same lines the other day. It's like we are so afraid that we may seem materialistic that we punish ourselves and our kids. And I had to laugh when you said that about the nativity scene. My son is four, and the other day I caught the angel in our nativity karate chopping Joseph. Boys . . .

Emily said...

I very much agree with many of your statements. I think there is a fine balance to be had between embracing the real "reason for the season" while also enjoying some of the more "materialistic" aspects of it. Who says it can't be done? I think it can be. As Christians, I think we should be able to have a balance. Well said.

Claire said...

I totally agree with you here, honey, and think your ambitions for the season are lovely.

Cxx

Mrs. G said...

You're right on, especially about the "Happy Holidays" part. I don't understand why, after people have said that phrase for years, Christians are suddenly offended by it. I, like you, will say, "Merry Christmas," but if someone at a store says, "Happy Holidays," I won't be boycotting their business.

Savannah said...

I totally agree! Some of my friends with kids have become "anti-Santa" which I respect, but I think you can find a happy balance.

Mama T said...

Spot on! As a Catholic I'll always say Merry Christmas. But Happy Holidays works for others - it's the spirit of the season that matters :)

Lauren said...

great post! I think that all parts of Christmas can be enjoyed, and it warms my soul to think about the hustle & bustle of it all! Jesus certainly is the Reason for the Season but all the other traditions & sentiments are important to quality time/family as well!

Maria said...

So true! I love hearing Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Hannukah too! It's just a great season!

Jourdan said...

What a great post Megan! You have a great attitude on some of the struggles around Christmas-time! I will remember these :)

Kate said...

Oh people and their High Horses on materialism! The honest truth is that it shouldn't be about the money, but the memories... HOWEVER, many of the memories? Cost some money! And that's okay! It's an important time of year and it's a wonderful thing to be able to create traditions for your own family... if it takes a little extra out of the budget to do so, I think it's totally worth it for the time spent together.

The Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays Debate is always an interesting one to watch unfold... I celebrate Christmas but I suppose I use both greetings interchangeably (usually depending on where I am or who I'm speaking with). I guess I never see the need to get so hopped up about it (which I don't think you are, for the record!). Both are extended as a gesture of joy... and often to a complete stranger. Is there really anything more lovely and relevant to the season than that, no matter what words are used?

I Do Declare said...

I agree with you, totally, and wrote a similar post on my blog last year about the Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas debate.

I find Christians who get all up in arms when offered a friendly greeting just short of hateful. It's sad to me that at Christmas-time, when there are so many chances to showcase the love of God, that some of us take up this silly battle.

Jessa R. said...

Thank you for writing these feelings and thoughts so eloquently - I felt the EXACT same way.

Stef said...

I agree! I love this time of year and even love some of the "materialistic" things that go along with it. I really enjoy picking out gifts for my family and friends and showing my love for them in that way. Yes, not everyone may feel the same, but I'm ok with that. I think that as long as we recognize the true "reason of the season" and celebrate in that, then taking part in some "material" stuff is not taking away from the true meaning of Christmas. Plus, God knows our hearts and what we truly believe!

Laura said...

Well said!

Alex and Jill said...

Don't tell anyone but I have a Merry Christmas sign AND a Happy Holidays sign in my home. I look at it as some folks just have to have a bandwagon to jump on, ya know? :)

I loved this post...totally agree. I also love hearing what traditions others have every Christmas season. Can't wait to hear about the ones you start with sweet Eli.

Shelley said...

I couldn't agree more!! I have a blog award for you on my blog scheduled for tomorrow morning. :)

Micah said...

I feel like I've been reading so many blog posts lately about why we should be taking a stand against so many Christmas traditions that it's left me feeling discouraged and like a bad Christian because I don't agree. I've done a lot of thinking and praying lately on the matter, and I'm contemplating writing a post of my own on the subject. Thanks for writing something that made me feel uplifted rather than like a bad person!

Kate said...

I am so with you about the Happy Holidays debate. When I was designing my Christmas card, I seriously thought twice about putting it on there, because I didn't want others to be annoyed at my word choice. I honestly liked the way it looked better in the font I was using (which may be a questionable way to make a decision, but hey! it's my card!) There's only so many ways to wish others happiness during this time of the year, why limit our options?